The Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) mission provides valuable data for climate research by recording sea surface wind speed and direction data for global climate research. Winds over the oceans affect air-sea changes in heat, moisture, gases, and particulates that are important for weather predictions.
Designed to fly for two years following its 1999 launch, QuikSCAT has far surpassed its mission design life. Its data have become critical in detecting hurricanes, improving forecasts and weather warnings for sailors, and identifying changes in the polar ice cap.
The QuikSCAT mission employs a variation of the Ball Configurable Platform (BCP) 2000 bus. The BCP 2000 provides NASA with the stable and highly accurate Earth remote sensing platform it sought to replace the data lost by the failure of Japan’s Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (EOS) in June 1997.
The BCP 2000 carries the SeaWinds scatterometer sensor, built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which takes the climate and weather measurements.
In addition to building the spacecraft bus, Ball Aerospace was responsible for the integration and test of the total space segment consisting of the BCP 2000 bus and the scatterometer payload. We facilitated the spacecraft-to-launch vehicle integration and provided launch support and continue to oversee mission control and operations with the University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
NASA awarded its first rapid spacecraft acquisition (RSA) contract to Ball Aerospace for the QuikSCAT. RSA provides NASA a low-risk, quick and affordable method for the purchase of satellite systems, allowing for shorter turnaround time from mission conception to launch.